Cowichan Piggies fall in Times Cup finale

From a serious injury in the first minute of play to a squabble over field condition, there was no shortage of drama at Piggie Park last Saturday as Cowichan lost 29-17 to the UVic Norsemen in the decisive game of the Vancouver Island Rugby Union Times Cup.

Almost immediately after the game started, a UVic player went down with a dislocated kneecap, and, rather than wait on the sidelines while an ambulance came to treat him, the teams moved to the club’s other field, shutting down the playing surface where the game started.

"We had literally been playing for 30 seconds when we had to stop," coach Gord McGeachy said. "We made the decision to switch to the other field."

When the game resumed, things didn’t go the Piggies’ way.

"We got off to a bit of a slow start," McGeachy said. "We seemed to not have any fire to start the game."

The Norsemen opened the scoring with a converted try less than 10 minutes into the contest, then went up 10-0 on a successful penalty kick. The Piggies responded, however, and midway through the first half got a try from Dan James, converted by Danny Hamstra, and a penalty goal from Hamstra, to tie the score. Just before the whistle blew to end the half, UVic took advantage of some undisciplined Cowichan defence to score again and take a 17-10 lead into the break.

Prior to the second half, the Cowichan players returned to the second pitch, while the Norsemen headed out to the field where the game began. After a few minutes of dispute, the UVic players finally relented and play resumed. The beginning of the second half looked similar to the first half for Cowichan.

"We came out flat again," McGeachy said. "We couldn’t sustain any continuous phases." The Norsemen scored the next two tries, converting one, to go up 29-10. The Piggies got their last try from Bruce Moss with about 10 minutes left to play. Hamstra again kicked the conversion.

With the victory, the Norsemen locked up the Times Cup. The Piggies remain in the hunt for the Cowichan Cup, however, where they currently sit third in the standings. All four teams make the Cowichan Cup playoffs.

The Piggies will play their next Cowichan Cup game this Saturday at 1 p.m. at home to the Port Alberni Black Sheep.